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Ministerial Foreword 4
Key Challenges and Opportunities 9
1.Threatened resource type – resource types that are in short supply across the State 23
2.Resource depletion – supply of resources is unable to meet allocated demand due to exhaustion of reserves 23
3.Significant production – strong supply locations supporting the State’s future development 23
grew by 2.3 per cent last financial year – making Victoria
the fastest growing state in the nation.
With this growth comes demand for services and
pressure on our infrastructure. That’s why we’re building the projects both big and small that our state needs – and using local workers and products as we build.
A key ingredient for all this new infrastructure currently lies beneath our ground. We must act now to secure our extractive resources: the sand, rock, clay and gravel that will be used to make the bricks, concrete, buildings and better roads of tomorrow. Otherwise, we risk building over these crucial resources and they will become inaccessible.
Transportation of extractive resources is expensive. We need to plan ahead, now, to source quarry materials near to where they will be used, to keep down the cost of transportation and, consequently, the cost of construction. The last thing we want is to need to import our extractive resources from further afield in the future. This will raise the cost of housing and other infrastructure for all Victorians. Longer transportation distances increase the impact on our roads, our communities and our environment.
We need to secure Victoria’s extractive resources now to ensure they are available for current and future generations. That’s why we have developed Victoria’s first Extractive Resources Strategy. The priorities of the strategy are to implement much-needed improvements to the Earth Resources Regulator and undertake longterm resource, land use and transport planning. We will also take actions to ensure local communities are better
informed and engaged in quarry planning and able to participate in decision making. We are also planning for the long-term rehabilitation of quarry sites and their integration back into the community landscape.
This new strategic approach will help to secure access to critical materials to build our future homes and infrastructure affordably. We expect this will give more certainty for industry and communities as Victoria continues to grow.
Tim Pallas MP
Minister for Resources
Victoria is growing rapidly. Our population is forecast to exceed 10 million people by 2050. We need extractive resources to build new housing, roads, rail lines, hospitals, schools and other public infrastructure to accommodate and service this significant population growth.
The construction materials relied upon by Victorians such as concrete, bricks, asphalt, paving, road base and aggregates are made from stone, sand, clay and other resources extracted from quarries across Victoria. These raw resources are the foundation of our built environment, contributing to Victoria’s economic development, liveability and the wellbeing of our communities.
The extractive resource sector underpins our $23 billion building and construction industry. Maintaining cost competitiveness for construction is critically important for Victoria’s future economic growth. Currently, our 535 quarries produce around 50 million tonnes of stone, limestone, sand and gravel each year, generating $786 million at the ‘quarry gate’.
In 2016, demand for extractive resources in Victoria was expected to double to 2050 as a result of ongoing growth in residential and commercial development, our community infrastructure, and transport and utilities infrastructure.
Victoria’s high demand for extractive resources and emerging supply shortfalls are creating an urgent need for the Government to take immediate action to secure the high-quality resources needed to meet Victoria’s current and future infrastructure and affordable housing requirements.
In 2018, demand for extractive resources in Victoria has been tracking at levels higher than previously forecast due to the ramp up in major transport infrastructure investment, while underlying housing demand remains strong. If this high demand trend persists, total extractives production is expected to increase to more than 100 million tonnes per annum by 2050, more than doubling annual production compared to 2016 levels.
While demand for extractive resources is at an all-time high, previously anticipated resource supplies have not all come to fruition or are restricted due to delays in approval processes, strong competition for land or restrictions on existing quarry operating conditions.
We need immediate action and a long-term approach to ensure supply and keep construction costs down
Extractive resources are high volume, heavy, low value materials that are ideally extracted close to where they are needed to minimise transport costs as well as social and environmental impacts.
High quality extractive resources are finite and only exist in areas of favourable geology.
If we fail to ensure that a sufficient supply of extractive resources is available within close proximity to our growth areas and infrastructure projects, the cost of constructing houses and infrastructure will likely rise. This can lead to more expensive and potentially fewer infrastructure projects for Victorians. Impacts on transport infrastructure will rise, and greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts will increase.
The extractives sector is facing increasingly lengthy and complex approval processes, uncertain outcomes, and transition issues as new policy and reforms such as risk-based work plans are implemented. In the current context of high infrastructure investment and population growth in Victoria, there is a degree of urgency for the Government and industry to find better ways to streamline and expedite approval processes, without compromising environmental and community standards.
There is also evidence that land containing strategic extractive resources is being ‘sterilised’ by other competing land uses while production from some existing quarries is being restricted due to the encroachment of incompatible land uses into buffer areas.
Planning decisions made today that do not sufficiently consider the importance of securing strategic extractive resources are likely to mean increased costs on the community, industry and government for generations to come. Opportunities may also be missed to shape new post-quarry landforms that provide long term benefits for communities, such as water storages, artificial wetlands and outdoor recreational facilities.
Effective and integrated resource and land use planning is required to identify the areas that are most suitable for resource extraction, taking account of other complementary and competing land use values such as cultural heritage, biodiversity, landscapes and housing. This approach needs to be underpinned by the implementation of contemporary quarrying practices and robust regulation to safeguard public health and environmental quality, as well as building the confidence of the community.
We have an opportunity to proactively plan for the development of extractive resource projects to meet the future housing and the essential infrastructure needs of all Victorians.
Supporting low-cost infrastructure and affordable housing projects The Government will invest $15.7 million over 2 years to adopt a proactive approach to addressing Victoria’s growing extractive resources needs for the Government’s record infrastructure investment. This includes funding for the earth resources regulator to manage demand pressures and deliver regulatory reforms and funding for strategic resource assessments and land use planning in collaboration with local governments, an extractives geoscience program, and improved community and industry engagement.
This Extractive Resources Strategy
The Victorian Government has developed this Helping Victoria Grow: Extractive Resources Strategy (‘Strategy’) to help ensure that high quality extractive resources continue to be available at a competitive price to support Victoria’s growth.
This Strategy builds upon key insights into challenges and opportunities for the extractives sector gleaned from extensive engagement with industry in 2016 and subsequent discussions with local councils and key stakeholders during 2017.
This Strategy looks ‘beyond the quarry gate’ to recognise the interactions between a quarrying operation and its surrounding landscape. It applies across the whole quarrying life cycle, from exploration for new extractive resources through to innovative end land uses for quarries. Applying a holistic view provides for an integrated approach to managing the social, environmental and economic impacts of the extractives industry.
The objectives of this Strategy are to:
Take immediate short-term action to ensure a sufficient supply of extractive resources is available to meet Victoria’s immediate infrastructure construction requirements
Provide secure and long-term access to extractive resource areas of strategic importance to the State
Maintain and improve Victoria's competitiveness and provide greater certainty for investors in the extractives sector
Prioritise and implement improvements to streamline regulatory approval processes in the short-term
Raise community understanding about the role of extractive resources in supporting Victoria’s growing population and build confidence in the regulatory performance of the sector
Encourage leading-practice approaches to sustainability, environmental management and community engagement
Encourage and support innovation in exploration, extraction and the end use of landforms after quarrying.
This Strategy includes priority actions for implementation in the short, medium and longer term under six broad themes. It will be supported by an implementation plan setting out further detail, timelines and responsibilities to deliver this Strategy.
Themes of the Helping Victoria Grow:Extractive Resources Strategy
Resource and land use planning – Strengthening the security of future extractive resources through improved forward planning for resources and land use
Transport and local infrastructure planning – Informing freight transport and infrastructure planning for the delivery of quarry resources to market
Confident communities - Building community awareness and acceptance in the extractives sector
Environmental sustainability – Promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship in the sector
Innovative sector – Promoting innovation in the sector, including facilitating innovative end land use for quarries post-closure
Our top three actions
All of the actions outlined in this Strategy are important for achieving the overall objectives. The following three actions are prioritised for immediate attention so that other related actions may in turn proceed. These are:
Updating mapping to refine areas for future potential extractive industries, including implementing the Strategic Extractive Resource Areas Pilot Project
Implementing the recommendations set out in the Commissioner for Better Regulation’s Report on Earth Resources Regulation – Continuous Improvement Project
Revising short term supply and demand forecasts to reflect the recent increase in population growth and the Government’s investment in new infrastructure.